AT Adventures: Q&A with Leandro Vicente Silva

Leandro Vicente Silva, grantee attending Purdue University, spent his summer Academic Training (AT) opportunity with RELX Group in Georgia. Read about his great experience!

Leandro Vincente, grantee attending

Leandro Vincente, BSMP grantee who interned with RELX Group this past summer.

Q: Where did you do your AT and what were your main responsibilities/objectives?

A: I did my AT in Alpharetta, GA. My main responsibility was to create an internal web platform to automate some tasks performed by the team that I was part of. It also included learning about my team’s role at the company and how it contributes to the overall business’ success. In order to do that, I had to talk to different members of the group and understand some processes that they go through on a daily basis. Besides that, I was a part of the intern social and community service committees. In those committees, we organized social events that brought the interns together as well as a big community service event to support a local organization through volunteer work.

Q: How did you find your AT opportunity?

A: I found this AT opportunity on IIE’s AT opportunities portal.

Q: What were some of the most interesting/important things you did and/or learned during your AT?  If there is a story about an interesting or valuable experience you had, please share it with us!

A: My team was awesome! A few days before I started the actual work, I met my colleagues in some informal events. I met them for the first time in a golf place to celebrate the good results achieved in the previous year. That was my first time golfing by the way! There was a lot of energy and a good relationship among the members. I felt very welcomed.

My team’s responsibility at the company was very challenging since they audit what other groups do in order to make sure that everything follows the government’s policies related to information security. Although this work by its nature may be very stressful, they managed to build a positive environment at work. That was my first time building a project for the real-world. I had to deal with some technologies that I’ve never used before. Still, I felt motivated all the time because my team really believed in me. They somehow taught me how to focus on my objectives and to be optimist even when I didn’t feel totally confident in completing my tasks. Now I understand that those who accomplish their objectives are not necessarily the smartest people or the ones with most knowledge in that area, but those who are courageous enough to go on and dive into their mission. Regardless of how much effort that they will put in to learn what is necessary to achieve the goal.

I couldn’t forget to mention the other interns that I met at the company. RELX has a great intern summer program meant to stimulate interaction and networking among the interns. As a result, I made real friends who went beyond the company’s proposal by making the most out of that summer experience. We used to meet once a week to play ping pong and video games at the game room or to have lunch together. It was a very diverse group of interns, around 16, – from different places in the World and fields of study. In our gatherings we would often discuss some cultural-related topics, which made me learn a lot about important aspects of countries and cultures that I have never spent any time learning about. I realized that not everybody is selfish at work. There are people who really care about you and that would support you even if can’t offer anything back. I still keep in touch with some of them and I can say that they are real friends for life.

Q: How will this AT opportunity help you after you complete your BSMP scholarship and return to Brazil?

A: Self-confidence is the key word to describe the best outcome of this experience. Due to what I have accomplished during my AT, I feel that I can accept any professional challenge. Also, I learned a lot how to manage better my time and how to estimate how long I will take to complete a given task. This will affect directly my productivity when returning to study at my University in Brazil.  I should also mention that any experience abroad brings more attention to a candidate’s resume when applying to Brazilian companies.

Q: What advice would you give to students who will participate in Academic Training next year?

A: Apply for every single opportunity that you find in your area of interest – even if you think you don’t meet all the requirements. It is better to regret applying for something you were not selected to rather than for not having applied in the first place. You never know what the other candidates’ profiles will be like, or how the recruiter will weight each point on your resume. For example, interpersonal skills sometimes will count more than advanced technical knowledge. Rely on the skills that you know are your best and work on how to highlight them when writing your resume or having an interview.